This is the first time I've participated in Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW). It's a blog carnival hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. If you don't read her blog..... START! Every Wednesday participating bloggers post a tip on their blog and a link on We Are THAT Family. There are tips for EVERYTHING there, saving time, saving money, cooking, homeschooling... everything. I think this is going to be fun!
My first WFMW tip is pretty simple. I'm always hit by a sudden urge to bake something.... and it never fails that what I choose to bake calls for softened butter. But who wants to wait hours for butter to come to room temperature? Maybe you have the patience for that, but I'm still lacking in that department. So here is my solution.
Set your oven to begin preheating to the lowest setting. Let it heat for about 5 minutes, then turn it off. You may even need to leave the door ajar to let some heat escape. You want it to be warm in there, but not hot at all.
Cut butter into small cubes on a cutting board. The smaller the cubes, the faster it will soften. This has to do with increasing the surface area of the butter that is exposed to warmer temperatures, therefor decreasing the time it takes to raise the temperature of the butter. (Thanks Alton Brown for being a food nerd!)
Place the butter in the warm oven and check it after five minutes. If it's not soft continue to check it every few mintues. You do NOT want to melt the butter so make sure the oven isn't too hot and that you don't forget about it.
I hope this tip works as well for you as it does for me!
P.S. It also works for cream cheese.